Still Learning To See

Reading the tea leaves


If this damned virus—and I refuse to stoop to calling it the “Chinese virus,” Mr. President, because both my mother and father were born in China (1911 & 1912) and I have a great big spot in my heart for their long, human history—but if anything has become crystal clear in the past months/weeks/days/even hours, it is that any and all of us, regardless of age, color, economics, can become infected by this microscopic thing. And we can potentially infect each other. Said another way, we are 100% interconnected.

Of course it is not a particularly pleasant way to be connected with each other but it could, post-virus, be useful to remember how we could be with each other if we so choose: each of us is connect to everyone else. In the same way I am sometimes just blown away by the fact that we all have belly buttons—our personal connectedness to our birth mothers, and wonder how can we ignore the obviousness of humanity, a humanity that also depends on ALL other living things and the Planet that supports all life.

I have been amazed at how so many individuals, even if not our “governmental leaders,” have come together to help each other in so many ways—helping shut-ins with food and drug deliveries, sharing flowers, singing together, walking and smiling from six feet away, on and on and on, we have risen to the level of knowing we are interconnected, even if many are also despairing and desperate. Do we want our future world to be one of the 1% and the homeless, nuclear-armed nations, border walls? CORVID-19 has helped us focus on other options.


OK, so all this has been germinating all week and came to this page this morning as I made and drank a pot of green oolong tea. This is a kind of tea that is hand-rolled, literally every leaf carefully picked and then partially dried and then rolled individually by hand, typically the hand of a woman (and, not doubt, one who is paid very little).

When I put the dried leaves into the pot, I can only wonder: how many there are? how long did it take to pick and roll them? who picked them and who rolled them? have they been spared this virus or have they lost family to it?

What would we talk about if we sat together and shared this cup of tea this morning? I’d value that conversation. Be well, friends.


This entry was published on March 22, 2020 at 8:11 pm and is filed under John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Reading the tea leaves

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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